Page update dec 21 2022 jan 7 2023: watch Koe Girl, its an official live action spinoff about the voice acting industry in relation to precure. i will code it into the page soon. ireally kind of want to completely redo the page
This is my page of Precure season reviews. I tried to keep everything simple and brief to help newcomers decide which one looks the most interesting to start with.
I reccomend also supplementing this with opinions from other people due to the fact i cant guarantee a perfectly consice summary of the most important information since theres just so much to talk about in a series with 18 seasons and i havent seen every single episode, and the level of subjectivity, you might end up liking something i dont. Its just sugesstions from one person.
These are my top 5 reccomendations to start with overall, of which you can read more about below. But keep in mind that none of the seasons are actually incorrect starting points because they are all self contained and dont continue into eachother, save for the 2 sequal seasons Futari wa Precure Max Heart and Yes! Precure 5 GoGo.
Futari wa Precure, Heartcatch Precure, Smile Precure
Go! Princess Precure, Star Twinkle Precure
Futari wa Precure (2004)
Cure black and cure white are a really fun and lovable duo, some of the most memorable characters of the whole series. The lonelier "all we have is eachother in the fight against darkness" ethos lends to an interesting tone not present at all in most other precure seasons.
It's pretty grounded in reality, the fights take place with more real stakes of danger to civillians and are often set in places like urban construction sites or warehouses. Raw punching and kicking with less focus on exaggerated magical power make up the fight scenes, which is awesome and unique for a magical girl show, its really the original trademark of precure. I've even heard that back when this was airing people werent sure to call it a magical girl show or not. This and the other earliest seasons up to heartcatch are the best precure for if you are a fan of superhero media and want something a bit scarier than modern precure.
One annoying aspect is the boy the show is insistant on shipping with nagisa, despite the fact he has no personality at all. You may find yourself skipping a couple scenes or episodes due to this.
This season was originally intended to finish at 25 episodes, but was extended due to popularity. because of this, there is a consice story in these episodes, and is good on its own if you dont have the time or arent sure if you want to commit to watch an entire season of anime.
Futari wa Precure Max Heart (2005)
Its more precure if you liked the first season, featuring a new girl that doesnt add very much to the team chemistry. Basically, start with the first season and not this one. I'll write some more here if i get around to watching it again.
Futari wa Precure Splash Star (2006)
This season suffers from the awkward stage in the lifespan of the series where there wasnt a sure method for what should happen next. And by suffer i mean in terms of popularity, due to being assumed a copy of the original precure team, which i find is not deserved because it has its own merits, and to be honest more kicking and punching hero girls is hardly a bad thing.
Splash star is the spiritual, nostalgic forest to original precure's brutal, industrial urban location. The two characters are even more tender and loving toward eachother, bordering on being romantic even, which is their true appeal point since their individual personalities are more subdued and generic compared to the original cures.
If that doesnt sound appealing it becomes so when the kiryuu sisters are involved. They are a duo of cold, seemingly unempathetic villain girls that brilliantly mirror cure bloom and cure egret, observing and learning from their love of life and eachother. When the cures and the kiryuu sisters are around eachother is when this season's narrative and enjoyability shines the brightest.
Yes! Precure 5 (2007)
This is the most shoujo-esque season of precure, a major point is cure dreams relationship with a cute boy named coco who is a prince from another land, that sometimes transforms into the cute animal mascot. Its frustrating to see how much they are portrayed to earnestly love and care for eachother, while coco also seems to be an adult, and also is her teacher?! This is one of the ways cure dream is intentionally similar to sailor moon as a character, as well with her personality being a departure from previous precure main characters to match.
Another departure from previous precure is sort of worse pacing and animation quality, i find it hard to pay attention a bit too often to say this is a favorite season of mine.
HOWEVER, there is an admirable detication to the sentai formula. the girls have the best combat synergy of any precure season, and have the zealous spirit of fighting for love and justice that i wish other precure seasons could borrow from more. Its pretty much a really good bad show in my eyes, the kind of thing to watch with a dose of irony and end up liking for its good points
Yes! Precure 5 GoGo (2008)
Well, its pretty much more of the same now featuring a really cool new addition to the team. More precure 5 if you love precure 5. Im not exactly masterfuly knowledgable enough about both seasons to elaborate more
Fresh Precure (2009)
Fresh precure was the beginning of the rest of precure in a way. A lot of things that would become staples forever began here, like the 3D CG ending dance sequence. This season was about dancing which is why they did it, but it was just too good of an idea to stop afterwards.
The thing fresh precure is most well known for though has to be the midseason arc of finding the fourth cure. Its some of the most emotionally moving stuff in all of precure. If you want a really awesome villain to hero redemption this is the biggest hitter. You'll probably cry.
No other precure season adresses the idea of fighting as a cure having stress on the body except for fresh. But it isnt cruel or anything, its presented in tangent to the high emotions of the redemption arc, and as a life lesson of not overworking yourself. A testament to how much more serious precure could be in these years.
The overall aesthetic appeals to 2000s nostalgia so if you are passionate about that you should consider giving it a look.
Heartcatch Precure (2010)
This is the best one for people who just consider themselves anime watchers, as in there is something here for any viewer and not just hardcore magical girl fans. It sort of feels like the cures in this season are the only ones to ever be designed with ease of animation in mind and it shows from how much sakuga heartcatch pulls out. I would go as far to say some of the greatest scenes of anime in general come from the key story moments of this show with how beautiful and serious they are. Things like post traumatic stress and the emotional consequences of gender roles are discussed.
The protagonist is unique because she is a shy and unconfident girl rather than a boisterous genki type (the role is filled by her partner) and her growth as a person is a main story point.
Also like, her grandma was a precure in the past too and gets to be a supportive figure which is really awesome and not a spoiler since you find this out in the first episode. Its a pretty experimental precure season overall and it payed off for sure. You really get the feeling they are truly superheroes.
Suite Precure (2011)
This was the beginning of a new era for precure. The 2010 tsunami disaster's impact in japan lead this show to have a major rewrite from the original more serious story, from then on all of precure was a lot more lighthearted and slightly less violent.
Suite is a far cry from heartcatch which came right before which causes it to be more criticised and less talked about. I would agree it is a little awkward and mediocre for precure, but it mostly makes up for this with the lovable humorous tone and fun character chemistry. Cure melody, rhythm and their eventual teammates (they get a villain redemption one) are really awesome to see bounce off eachother and just hang out and have fun.
While being music themed, it doesnt really deliver on integrating the characters doing music stuff in a way that would satisfy someone passionate about playing instruments, but they have a singing cat i guess lol.
Smile Precure (2012)
This is where precure being a vessel for cheering people up after the 2010 tsunami disasters and the tone changed. Smile precure was very comedy focused, and the grit and fear of original precure is noyt as present. That isnt to say it doesnt take itself seriously when it counts though
If you can get into the tone of smile precure, it ends up being maybe the best season of precure? To me, it had the best consistency of quality per every episode. There are not really any stinkers, so long as you enjoy filler type episodes. All of this is probably the reason it was chosen for a netflix dub, which by the way is NOT a good dub at all, dont let that be your first experience of Smile precure.
The most popular character in maybe the whole series comes from smile, cure peace. She is very into sentai and mech shows, and is very enthusiastic about being a cure, so its not hard to see why she appealed to so many people. The characters are hard not to love in this one.
Doki Doki Precure (2013)
Dokidoki precure has a particular tone and flavor which could be good or bad depending on what you want out of a precure season. It is not incredibly grounded in reality and relatability, the characters include an idol, a rich girl with a butler, and a girl who is seemingly perfect and good at everything.
The journey is about saving the Trump kingdom and finding its missing princess. Trump in this case is the japanese name for a deck of playing cards, like with numbers and the heart, diamond, spade, club suit. The team and aesthetics follow these ideas.
This season has a netflix dub as Glitter Force Doki Doki, which i would strongly advise not watching as your first experience.
This is maybe the most awkwardly executed precure seasons in terms of story. While there is some fun to be had with the characters and good moments and girls fighting action, the most talked about aspect of dokidoki precure is the midseason cure, cure ace. Spoilers ahead.
They pull a major fakeout that leads you to expect one character to become a cure after a heartfelt journey of self growth, only to reverse it and have her turn evil again and vanish until near the end of the show. She is suddenly be replaced with someone else who had never been seen before after taking so much attention away from all the other characters. It is really unsatisfying to a lot of people to say the least and sours the likability of the new character.
Furthermore, salt is poured on the wound when you have to put up with an okama stereotype villain joining the cast at the same time as this.
Happinesscharge Precure (2014)
Since it was the 10th anniversary celebration for precure, the characters all have like 10 different attacks each or something which rules. You wont get quite as tired of the same attack stock footage repeating over and over.
The intention was to recreate the success of Heartcatch and had almost the same team formula, though characters can be hit or miss for some people because they are very exaggerated and cartoonish in their personalities and could even be seen as a tounge in cheek non cynical parody of precure itself?
More importantly the idea of the precure truly being superheroes is given room for experimentation once again. There are precure all over the world known as celebrities, they have fans and get featured on television. For most of the series, the precure fights take place in a vacuum with little to no integration of the civillians in the world nearly without fail as a rule, but not at all in happinesscharge.
Romance with a boy who is thankfuly at least the same age as the precure he gets paired with is is a significant plot point
The gimmick at play is the ability to play dress-up in different costumes to gain abilities, such as putting on a detective outfit to find something that went missing, or ninja costume to be more stealthy. It gets upsetting though when they start putting on costumes that represent different cultures to perform attacks.
The aforementioned worldwide precure are also portrayed for the most "consumable" aesthetic aspects of their cultures, nobody has particularly dark skin. This is very sadly the most racist season of precure and goes all in with pale skin centricism and exploitation of non japanese and white cultures. Its really unforgivable since its likely responsible for limiting some e childrens perspective on other people and the rest of the world
One other egregious point however more skippable due to lesser amount of focus, is one of the wooooorst okama stereotype villains ive ever seen in "Madam Momare". Avoid even witnessing this character at all costs.
Go! Princess Precure (2015)
Princess precure is known for having good fights, as far as recent precure it is one of the ones that lets itself be a little more violent which is pretty cool. It stands out visually really well too and has some really nice locations and inspired animation at times.
It also does a good job of keeping its overarching plot relevant and takes itself pretty seriously while embracing the lovable campiness of a cartoon about fighters in ridiculous costumes. A villain to cure redemtion arc is here too if you enjoy that. Its really well rounded overall and one of my favorites.
It isnt without problems though. Some people might find the unrelenting encouragement of "being a pretty princess" toward the audience of young girls upsetting, none of the cures are particularly tomboyish.
Also, the main character struggling to strive for this and becoming exhausted from overwork at the fancy boarding school she attends in a way that could, for example, be too relatable to the autism experience is upsetting to see as well. Though it happens in this intensity pretty much only at the beginning.
Mahou Tsukai Precure (2016)
This is a really cute comfort food kind of precure season. Cure miracle and magical have so much love for eachother, its really fun and adorable to see and comes off as intentionally romantic sometimes. The mascot Mofurun is also extremely lovable and feels like just another one of the girls due to how involved she is.
There is a noticable harry potter inspiration in the way the magical witch world they visit operates, this makes it a great alternative for a guilt free revisitation of the more whimsical and kind parts of harry potter if thats something you want.
There is a baby character that the girls raise like a couple together, in case you would not be comfortable seeing little girls raise a baby
No other precure season places as much focus on the alternate world location as much as mahou tsukai, pretty much half the show takes place there. It can make you wish it was just a magic school anime without trying to also cram in the precure superhero part. It suffers a little from lack of focus in this way, and the quality wavers a lot of times especially in the second half, picking up again by the end.
Kira Kira Precure a la Mode (2017)
If you want any amount of grit and edge, kira kira precure a la mode has almost none. Being precure is almost second to the bake shop and making sweets, and none of the fights have any physical contact and are centered around being creative with the magic powers.
This doesnt have to be a bad thing if you dont want it to be though, and you can enjoy something really cute and cheerful with, uh, a completely canon romantic relationship between two girls that are main characters on the team!?
The amount of characters it tries to have in the cast spreads the attention for each a little thin at times though.
Hugtto Precure (2018)
rewrite this one whenever i raise a kid myself and understand the experience. man this page is dumb sounds like a high school essay
The main the
Star Twinkle Precure (2019)
This is a great season to watch if you arent sure where to start and want something theraputic and cute.
A really great thing brought to the table is that the characters often go to space in a rocket and go on adventures with fun aliens. The main character loves UMAs (japanese equivilant acronym word for cryptid) and is really excited about it which is fun to watch.
There is a dip in quality around the begining of the second half but it picks up again by the end.
There is implication of the girls having romantic interest in eachother, particularly with cure soleil and cure selene, also with cure milky and cure star to a lesser degree
A detication to the theme of inclusivity and diversity has the team boast a total of 2 non human cures, but more importantly the only character in the series whos skin is past being just a little tan, cure soleil. She is mexican japanese and is really cool and presented with dignity, though her family falls under stereotype so youll have to take them with a grain of salt (she has a lot of siblings, dad goes around everywhere playing guitar and saying things like "ole senorita"). There is a 2 episode arc in which the concept of racism and how it can be an emotional burden on those effected by it is presented in an empathetic manner.
Healin' Good Precure (2020)
From the outside this precure season may come off as plain and generic, to which i partially agree in the sense that it harnesses pleasant mundanity as supplement for its major themes. The main character cure grace has lived most of her life in the hospital, and from episode one we witness her reintegration into a non inpatient world, and the appreciation for life and being nurturing she has accrued in her harsh past experiences. The catch phrase she is marketed as having "fu-wow!" (a soft and fluffy kind of wow) is outspoken by what i interpret is her actual catch phrase, "ikiteru 'te kanji" (i feel so alive).
A major milestone is cure earth as the first adult cure to be a main character. As well, standing up to an abuser and allowing you to put your own self care first is a portrayed message.
This season unignorably aired during the height of covid fear, which it could not have predicted and has the heroes as doctors defeating the villains who are diseases. Thankfuly, it was too late for revision so nothing aside from the holiday themed episodes were sacrificed from the original intentions.
Tropical Rouge Precure (2021)
The lovable characters and their friendships are the best part of tropical rouge. It is pretty comedy focused, and much like smile, this is a great season to pick up if you can enjoy filler type episodes about girls having fun. The villains are particularly lovable and funny too.
The greatest focus is placed upon the club the characters are part of at school, most of the time is spent in situations tangental to it.
It made me really sad when Laura the mermaid wished she was a human so she could more openly play with her friends at school, i was percieving the sorrow of someone with a mobility disability. However, the show is actually driving at a retelling of the little mermaid wherein she becomes human for her own desire and not for a prince, so take that for what you will.
Either way Laura is a really awesome character and brings an enjoyable arrogance and imperfection to the cast of girls that precure doesnt usually get to see in a protagonist.
Delicious Party Precure (2022)
too many reasons i dont like it to write a review but its fine for babys i guess